A Dog Named Oscar

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I forgot to let you know if I was April fooling you about my new dog. I wasn’t. I do have a new dog named Oscar. He’s a very nice dog. Part lab and who knows what else. He was a stray who found a loving home at a horse barn, but the people who welcomed him there weren’t able to keep him since they follow the horses during racing season. So Darrell, who had been hunting a dog for me ever since I didn’t get the pup at Christmas, came across him on the internet and for some reason this time I said why not? I think it was his name that got me. Plus he reminded me of Max, a black lab I had several years ago. Max has gone on to doggie heaven, but he was one of the nicest dogs I’ve owned. Oscar promises to be the same. I’ve had so many good dogs. Most of them I got when they were puppies. But not Dub, my chocolate lab. He was about a year old when we got him. And now not Oscar who is about ten months old.

As I’ve shared with you before, I’m a dog lover. I remember when I was about ten or eleven I told everybody I was going to be a recluse who had a dozen dogs. Well, that didn’t happen! Thank goodness. I don’t think I’d do the recluse thing well. And a dozen dogs might be a few too many to have to take to the vet and keep in dog food. But back when I was a very shy little girl I could imagine living in a cabin on a mountain somewhere spending all my time writing. Oh yeah, and feeding and walking all those dogs, I suppose.

While some little girls yearn for a pony, I wanted a dog. My own dog. Wilson Rawls gave words to the feeling I had in his wonderful book Where the Red Fern Grows when he wrote about his character having the dog hunger. That really rang a chord with me even though I didn’t read the book until I was an adult. Still, I knew exactly what he meant about his young character having the hunger to have a dog because that was the very feeling that had eaten at my insides when I was a kid.

I just went out on the net trying to find the publication date for that book and came across some interesting information about Rawls. His story was first published in 1961 as a three part series in The Saturday Evening Post. I never did find out when it was first published in book form. The re-issued book from Yearling still has a number one Amazon ranking for books for kids about dogs. But the really interesting or perhaps sad information I came across was that Rawls had always dreamed of being a writer but after he wrote something he would lock it up in a trunk so no one else could see it. Then when he was in his forties he got married for the first time, thought he needed to be more responsible and burned all his stories. His wife disagreed with what he’d done and encouraged him to keep writing. Out of that encouragement we got a story that still touches hearts today. But you have to wonder about those stories he burned.

Well, I went off chasing rabbits tonight for sure. But back to Oscar, I think he’s going to be my next very good dog. And he’ll help keep that dog hunger of mine satisfied.